Uncertainty looms over Wagon Factory at Sitalapalli in Ganjam

Ganjam (GAM): Uncertainty looms large over setting up of the wagon factory at Sitalapalli in Odisha’s Ganjam district following allocation of meagre amount for the project in the last Railway budget.

The proposal for construction of the railway wagon factory was first announced in 2011-12 by then railway minister Mamata Banarjee. Since then, her successors have mentioned about the project in their respective budget speeches without allocating adequate funds to take the project forward.

The district administration has earmarked around 101-acres of land in the area for the wagon factory. Necessary communication on the site has been sent to the Railway Ministry, sources said. However, there is no progress on the project yet. Sitalapalli is situated near Jagannathpur railway station, about 20 km from Berhampur. Tata Steel is setting up an Industrial Park close to the site, while the Gopalpur port is also located nearby.

“We are doubtful about the implantation of the project by the Centre,” said T. Gopi, state secretary of the ruling BJD. “We had high hopes for the project when the central government announced it in 2011-12. But now uncertainty looms large over its implantation with allocation of meagre amount in the successive Railway budgets,” added Mamata Bisoi, vice president of state women’s wing of BJD.

Senior BJP leader and former deputy speaker of state Assembly, Ram Chandra Panda, had submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to implement the railway project and allocate more funds for it.

Former Union minister and Congress leader Chandra Sekhar Sahu and CPM’s state secretary Ali Kishor Patnaik also criticized the NDA government for ignoring the project

Apart from the proposed railway wagon factory at Sitalapalli, the people of the area want construction of the railway line from Gopalpur to Rayagada, Berhampur to Phulbani, railway terminal at Berhampur, running of direct train from Berhampur to New Delhi, Berhampur to Rourkeal via Sambalpur, a DMU from Berhampur to Puri, said Sahu.